Creating new forms for mass collaboration

Staking as an organizing concept for Web3 is the stepping off point for Rosemary Heather’s research for Blockchains and Cultural Padlocks. Staking as an idea can be summarized as: Users of the network, own the network. The Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol is contrasted to Proof of Work system that underpins much of the token-issuance of today’s blockchains, in which nodes on the network compete for blocks of coins. The PoS protocol offers a method of blockchain management that requires significantly less expenditure of network resources. Nodes stake coins (i.e., make a deposit of collateral) in exchange for the right to help manage the network and earn a portion of transaction fees from network activity (in proportion to amount staked).

Considered as a general concept, staking has a number of potential effects:

  • The self-interest of being a stakeholder on the network leads to better network stewardship.
  • Blockchain fostered decentralization makes the network harder to attack (no single point of failure) increasing network security.
  • Incentivization of stakeholders (money earning potential) leads to better behaviour online.

Beyond research into the terms, technical requirements and potential benefits of network staking, Heather’s ongoing research looks at the following questions:

  • To the extent that staking might be revenue generating, what would it mean for an arts organization, like 221A, to run a node and stake online?
  • As a nonprofit entity what are the terms under which an arts organization is a business?
  • What are the security risks of staking as a defacto custody of your crypto assets?

The staking internet is the next internet. BACP Editorial Director Rosemary Heather outlines a brief history of this emergent culture that blockchains make possible, in her research paper “The Staking Internet.” Read it here.

Rosemary Heather is is a journalist, curator and researcher with a specialization in blockchain. She writes about art, the moving image and digital culture for numerous publications. Art projects include Nasty, co-curated with Daniel Faria, 2017; Kim (Us) collaboration with Nicolaus Schafhausen, 2015/16; Moby Dick, 2002/2015; Screen and Décor collaboration with Rodney La Tourelle and Louise Witthoeft, 2013-2014; Ron Giii, Hegel’s Salt Man, 2007-2008; Serial Killers: Elements of Painting Multiplied by Six Artists, 2000; i beg to differ, 1996. She is a co-author of the collectively written novel Philip, 2006. From 2013-2015 she was Director of Publications for Fogo Island Arts, and from 2003-2009, the editor of C Magazine (Toronto). Since 2015, she has worked in the blockchain industry as a writer and researcher. An archive of her writing can be found at